Embattled Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna could be headed for a faceoff with BJP leader and former CM B.C. Khanduri in a byelection to the assembly. The Congress feared that a defeat for the CM against Khanduri could turn the tables on the party. The Congress-led government had been walking on thin ice since coming to power last month with a fragile majority and mutinous MLAs led by a miffed Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat after Lok Sabha MP Bahuguna was chosen to be CM.
To ensure Bahuguna’s victory, sources said the Congress even tried to woo a BJP MLA to vacate his seat for Khanduri so that he was not fielded against the CM. The ruling party, however, denied the strategy. “A number of Congress MLAs have offered to vacate their seats for me. I have not given a thought to it. I am busy with the Budget that will be presented in the assembly on May 20. I have time (to get elected to the assembly) till September,” the CM said. “Unless and until I or the party high command takes a decision, nobody should create confusion,” he added.
Khanduri lost in the assembly polls, but would be a serious threat for Bahuguna. Both happen to be cousins. Asserting that his government was safe because of the anti-defection law, the CM said: “The BJP will be daydreaming if they think they can topple my government.” But the Congress, which has just one MLA more than the BJP, could plunge into trouble if Bahuguna loses.
New Source: IndiaToday